After being elected in 2009 as a Member of the German Bundestag (national legislative body), this politician became Vice President of Germany's Die Linke (The Left) party.
In her younger years, she joined a socialist movement known as Free German Youth and subsequently became a member of Germany's Socialist Unity Party.
She served the North Rhine-Westphalia constituency in the Bundestag.
She grew up in Jena and East Berlin, Germany, as the daughter of a German mother and an Iranian father. After separating from her first husband, Ralph-Thomas Niemeyer, in 2013, she went on to marry fellow politician Oskar Lafontaine in December 2014.
She earned college degrees in German literature and philosophy; her thesis dealt with the work of German political philosopher Karl Marx.